1/14/2015, St. Elizabeth sees ‘alarming’ jump in heroin ODs


A startling jump in heroin overdoses in Northern Kentucky in December has confounded those closely monitoring the epidemic in the region…

5/2/2014, Marijuana Works Better Than Opiates To Control Pain: Here’s How


Medical cannabis, unlike opiates, doesn’t alleviate pain; it alleviates your emotional response to pain. Upon observation, it is recognized that higher THC strains do this more effectively. THC is received in your emotional center (the limbic system), which is what causes the relaxation effect. Marijuana as pain relief? It’s all in the way our brains are hardwired.


Andy K September 4, 2014 at 2:09 am

I use a Buprenorphine 52.5mcg/hr patch. The problems with my spine are both permanent and progressive, so the pain caused by these problems is never going to go away or heal up. I have been on this patch for 10 years a 5 months at the time of writing this. I notice no tolerance building up but AM well and truly addicted to the stuff. The only time this becomes a problem is when I forget to put a new patch on…

Glenn M September 30, 2014 at 10:16 am

Andy, Be careful w/ long term buprenorphine. It’s a 10 times better than full against opiates, but there is still hormonal, immune and other side effects. It’s especially wonderful there is no tolerance though, but it’s still poison!! I was on oxycontion and morphine, oxymorphone, etc… for seven years. I got on buprenorphine (Subutex oral) a couple years ago, and am now trying to make the jump to MMJ. So far, so good! i have tapered down to scraps of Subutex. I hope to make the jump in a week or so. Subutex left me with no emotions, no desire, no motivation, to sex drive, no any drive!!!

Steve M May 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Why is it always cannabis OR opioids?

They work wonders together and cannabis doesn’t help everyone.

We don’t need more bashing of opioids in the name of advancing cannabis. All opioid side effects wear off over time (except constipation, which is readily managed with Miralax OTC),it’s a function of tolerance.

Also, (a side note) while THC is helpful, it is important to remember that THC alone is almost worthless for pain relief (otherwise, my Marinol/dronabinol (CIII) would help). High THC is fine, as long as CBD isn’t sacrificed. Also, oral consumption causes rapid, extensive first pass metabolism, which modifies the THC (one of the issues with Marinol/dronabinol when taken as directed).

I think that the most important thing to remember is that CP/IP (chronic/intractable pain) patients are NOT one size fits all.

12/6/2011, UCSF Study Finds Medical Marijuana Could Help Patients Reduce Pain with Opiates


A UCSF study suggests patients with chronic pain may experience greater relief if their doctors add cannabinoids – the main ingredient in cannabis or medical marijuana – to an opiates-only treatment. The findings, from a small-scale study, also suggest that a combined therapy could result in reduced opiate dosages.

More than 76 million Americans suffer from chronic pain – more people than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined, according to the National Centers for Health Statistics…

In a paper published this month in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, researchers examined the interaction between cannabinoids and opiates in the first human study of its kind. They found the combination of the two components reduced pain more than using opiates alone, similar to results previously found in animal studies.

Major Components of Cannabis

Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9 THC) – It is the main psychoactive component of cannabis with mild to moderate painkilling effects. It also helps treat nausea associate with cancer chemotherapy and to stimulate appetite. It induces feelings of euphoria. Potential side effects include accelerated heartbeat, panic, confusion, anxiety and possible paranoia.

Cannabidiol (CBD) – It is a major, non-psychoactive component of cannabis that helps shrink inflammation and reduce pain without inducing the euphoria effects of THC. It has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, psychotic disorders and epilepsy. Larger amounts of CBD can relax the mind and body without causing negative side effects associated with THC.

Cannabinol (CBN) – It is a secondary psychoactive component of cannabis. It is not associated with painkilling effects of THC or CBD. CBN is formed as THC ages. Unlike the euphoria effects of THC, CBN can induce headaches and a sense of lethargy.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) – It is found primarily in strains of African and Asian cannabis. THCV heightens the intensity of THC effects and the speed in which the component is delivered, but also causes the sense of euphoria to end sooner.

Researchers studied chronic pain patients who were being treated with long-acting morphine or long-acting oxycodone. Their treatment was supplemented with controlled amounts of cannabinoids, inhaled through a vaporizer. The original focus was on whether the opiates’ effectiveness increased, not on whether the cannabinoids helped reduce pain.

“The goal of the study really was to determine if inhalation of cannabis changed the level of the opiates in the bloodstream,” Abrams said. “The way drugs interact, adding cannabis to the chronic dose of opiates could be expected either to increase the plasma level of the opiates or to decrease the plasma level of the opiates or to have no effect. And while we were doing that, we also asked the patients what happened to their pain.”

As a cancer doctor, Abrams was motivated to find safe and effective treatments for chronic pain. Patients in the cannabis-opiates study experienced no major side effects such as nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite…

The study was supported by funds from the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a subsidiary of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

6/11/2014, Could Medical Marijuana Help Stem The Opiate Addiction Crisis?


What do you think the addiction industry has to say about cannabis?

“I think it is very, very risky to try to replace one harmful, addictive substance with another harmful, addictive substance, and I think that is not underscored enough when people talk about marijuana,” said Dr. Kevin Hill, an addiction psychiatrist at McLean Hospital.

Let me ask you, Dr. Hill:  How many of your patients do you lose every year to overdose?  Now, ask the same question to a medical marijuana dispensary.

This Scent Will Make You Trust People More, According To Science


Previous research on aromatherapy has found that lavender can affect mood and well-being. Lavender essential oil produces a mild calming and sedative affect, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, and has been used to ease anxiety, depression, insomnia and fatigue. One brain-scanning study by Wesleyan University researchers found that participants who sniffed lavender oil before going to bed slept more soundly through the night.

Gotta love brave women


1/14/2015, People of Color Deal With Mental Illness, Too

Even when it comes to the news reports of these tragic shootings recently, when it is a white male there is the immediate speculation that he is mentally ill. Yet, when Black or Latino men commit crimes, they are just that: criminals…

But we have a larger problem in our hands that is more important than saving face. We are losing countless individuals due to the silence and shame that contributes to the high suicide attempt and success rate…

In response to this disparity and the state of mental health for my community, I have started a photo project to juxtapose the media representation of mental illness. I am hoping that this project will let others know that they are not alone. I want my community to know that this is not something to be ashamed about. This is not a white person’s disease…

Rand Paul: Disability Insurance Wasted On People With Anxiety And Back Pain


Rand’s comment comes as congressional Republicans are poised to push reforms to the Social Security Disability Insurance program, the little brother of the much larger Social Security retirement insurance program. Disability benefits have been a longstanding target of GOP criticism…

“What I tell people is, if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn’t be getting your disability check. Over half of the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club,” he added. “Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts. Everybody over 40 has a little back pain.”

Who, exactly, is Mr. Paul preaching to?

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday began a two-day tour through New Hampshire…

Oh, rich people in New Hampshire.

Ralph Lauren’s Native American Ads Reveal Sad Truth About The Fashion World


Critics charged that the ads reduced people, and indeed entire cultures, to mere marketing props… Following the outcry, the company removed the images from its website and apologized.

Really, the actual marketing prop is the almost-naked, beautiful woman.

If Native Americans are offended, I guess I should be offended for them… But I think this costume is pretty.  I love the color of turquoise, and I think the head dress is rather regal.  If Victoria Secret had used a Native American model, proudly wearing this outfit on the runway, it would have made for a much better image.

7/9/2012, Relief for Joints Besieged by Arthritis

If your wrist or knee hurts, you can wrap these joints in an ace bandage or use a brace for support.  Likewise for your foot or elbow.  You can make a sling for your arm to support it while healing, and there are hip and back braces, too.  But there’s nothing you can do for your jaw joints.  There’s no brace or other supportive device you can use to support these joints.

I had the idea once that if I used a neck brace, I could give my painful head some rest.  My doctor at the time said no, this would only create weakness in my neck.  You’d think there would be some support from a mouth splint, an ability to allow the jaw to rest, but even with 7 different splints, that never happened for me.

The jaw joint is the most complex joint in the human body.  There’s not much media attention or general education about jaw joints or TMJ, which is weird considering how important these joints are.  So, here’s some general advice:  stop chewing gum.


Between 1979 and 2002, knee replacement surgery rose 800 percent among people 65 and older. [Sounds like an epidemic.]  Although Dr. Felson described hip replacement as “dynamite” — highly effective in relieving pain and restoring function — knee replacement may be far less helpful…

Some 27 million Americans have life-limiting osteoarthritis, and the numbers are rising as the population gets older and fatter…

It was recently estimated that out of the 100 million Americans estimated to suffer from pain, the figure for those who suffer from moderate-to-severe pain is a measly 25 million.  So, where do the 27 million Americans with “life-limiting” osteoarthritis fit in to those 25 million people with moderate-to-severe pain?

Any kind of joint injury or surgery, even if performed arthroscopically, raises the risk that a joint will become arthritic. That is why so many professional and recreational athletes develop arthritis at younger ages…

You know, my oral surgeon never mentioned that…

“The severity of pain is directly correlated with the degree of muscle weakness,” Dr. Felson wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine. (If the knee hurts during exercise, he added, then it should be avoided.)

If the knees hurt constantly, then what?  Get a wheelchair?

Wearing the right shoes with certain adjustments to the sole and heel, if needed, can help too. Get fitted in a store with expertise in evaluating feet and gait.

Dude, do you know how expensive that is?  Well, it’s an article in the NY Times, where there are no poor people.

Bracing an arthritic knee can help, too, especially with an unloader brace that shifts the stress away from the damaged part of the joint. Most patients are unlikely to wear such a brace all the time, Dr. Felson said. Still, knee braces can help arthritis sufferers continue to participate in physical activities, reduce the use of pain medication and postpone the need for surgery.

Pain relievers usually bring only temporary relief, if any. Daily dosing with acetaminophen (the ingredient in Tylenol) should be tried first, experts say, because it is significantly safer than ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, especially for older people.

No, opioids are not mentioned as a treatment option.

Well-designed clinical studies have shown no significant relief of arthritic knee pain from supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, taken alone or in combination, though Dr. Felson said that if people feel better taking them, he does not discourage the practice…

I don’t know what those pills look like now, but back when I took glucosamine and chondroitin, the size of the pills was a huge problem.  The other problem is that they were expensive, and oh yeah, they didn’t work.

Nor is there good evidence of benefit from methylsulfonylmethane, SAM-e or acupuncture. Some evidence suggests that osteoporosis drugs may be helpful, though they have not yet been tested for arthritis relief in a randomized clinical trial, Dr. Felson said.

There are also hints of benefit from vitamin K, an essential nutrient found in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage and the like), which are good for health in general (unless you take blood thinners).

Doctor-administered treatments include steroid injections every three or four months to control pain and buy time, and injections of a synovial fluid replacement like Synvisc twice a year. In general, though, these are not very effective when arthritis has reached the bone-on-bone stage, Dr. Johnson said.


A Meditation on Pain


I want to tell you that a headache made me overdose on pain medication once, and all I remember was lurching up my lunch at the student health clinic in Carbondale, Illinois, and a beautiful nurse patting my back because I was crying at the same time, crying and lurching, crying and lurching, because the pain didn’t go away, the one in my head, the one pulsating like a heart about to explode. I want to tell you that I know someone who had a headache and the only way he got rid of it was he shot himself. I want to tell you that I’ve thought about shooting myself…